Archive for March, 2011|Monthly archive page


In Uncategorized on March 18, 2011 at 2:36 am

I am holding a copy of the new disc. OH MOMENTOUS DAY!

This arrival celebrates so much. New record with NEW LUNGS with New label!

Squeeeee!!!! (Jumping up and down)

(Be sure to get your copy on April 12th at Hugh’s Room in Toronto!!!)


“White Pang”

In Uncategorized on March 15, 2011 at 4:14 am

Mort, the dog closest to my sled this weekend.

I’ve been reading Jack London’s White Fang for the last few weeks. In the midst of it, and in the midst of enjoying winter so much this year, I took a notion to book a dog sledding adventure. Knowing there was a place near to Tom’s folks, in Owen Sound, I took to the net where I discovered Singing Dog Adventures!

It was amazing! That’s all I can say. One minute I’m reading White Fang, the next I’m IN a Jack London novel!

When we got to the farm we rolled down our windows and the sound of  dog song welcomed us. We signed our wavers in the charming log home and set off in the trailer after a verbal rundown on how to drive a sled of dogs! I’m so fortunate that I have experience communicating with animals, as well as being in charge of powerful beasts, but without any reins I was a little dubious of the control I’d have. I’m glad to say these amazing animal were so intelligent and so well voice-trained it felt fine once we were going.

My “coach” and the “alpha dog” of the pack named Richard was a really cool man and rode in the sled with me, while I stood and drove the five-dog team most of the way (with lots of verbal queues for the dogs coming from Richard who I did my best to emulate). Tom was  about twenty feet behind with another coach, at the helm of his own five-dog sled going through the amazing snowy woods near Red Bay, which is near to Wiarton/Owen Sound. The snow wasn’t too fast (which is good for me as a beginner because the thought of going 25 KMs an hour on a dog sled scared me a little!) and we mostly jogged through the woods with the odd spirited gallop up or down a  hill or around a thrilling bend. It was exciting when they really got going and every so often when they felt tired you’d jump off the sled and jog behind in the snow to give the dogs a break.  (All this I did and never even mentioned I’d had a lung transplant! )

Rounding a bend up a hill! Weeee!!!!

It was fun using your voice to tell the team they were doing well, to encourage them to keep going, to turn right (Gee) or left (ha).  Sometimes you asked them to “Whoa” as you put the foot brake on. Those smart little Siberian beasts could really understand English. I lost count of how many words they seemed to understand with the coach, their master, helping me to “mush” (ironically the one word we didn’t use!)

I must admit that once we’d helped harness up all ten STRONG dogs, run them for over two and a half hours, and un hitched them all, I was well and truly done. I mean TIRED!  That night my knee (the one which I tore about 14 months ago) was QUITE sore from all the leaning around corners and jarring it got riding on the sledge runners over bumps and around corners. Like I say, certainly our horse-balance came in very handy but I had NO idea it would be THAT PHYSICAL!

In the end it is no exaggeration to say that it was the experience of a lifetime.  Those smart dogs seemed so utterly fulfilled in their life. So happy!  It was inspirational. I felt like I got to know them each a little bit over the course of the afternoon, calling encouragements & directions to them each by name. I mean, although I think I did a good job, I’m pretty sure having their master in chief sitting in my sleigh really made them focus! Seeing the bond between the dogs and their master was a beautiful thing.

And now, here is a little video of Tom driving his team through a stream after having stopped to water them. Talk about seizing the day!

Fitness Update

In Uncategorized on March 10, 2011 at 12:04 am

Seems my last post had a few people scared.

To re-iterate: I am in my 30s and through the course of my equine partners being lame, I have become out of shape myself. When I got out of breath in the saddle it REMINDED me of the “old days”. The difference is that now I can quickly catch my breath. The difference is that now I have good lungs!

To avoid further feelings of breathlessness I’ve been working hard at my fitness since the last post and in fact it’s really responding. What a great thing to be able to jog up a hill, or ride a cantering horse around and around the ring! Feels great!

I’ve made a decision to find a horse or pony to ride regularly this spring while our two horses are on “stall rest” . Both our horses are being prescribed rest to help them to heal. I worry about them both tremendously, especially Gypsy who is geriatric, however, time heals all wounds… or at least we hope.

In the meantime, if anybody has a horse for a life-long rider to exercise, lemme know! I gotta’ keep fit!

MUSIC UPDATE: Albums are due to be in-hand and back from the pressing plant really soon! So much to do this month in preparation for HUGHS ROOM LAUNCH on APRIL 12TH 2011!!!!!

That Was An Unpleasant Reminder

In Uncategorized on March 1, 2011 at 11:17 pm

Of late both our horses have been lame. It is for one reason or the other. Gypsy is geriatric, Beaumont is a mystery to be solved tomorrow by some fancy x-rays.

Anyhow, in the midst of all this lameness, being in my 30s and waiting out winter I have found myself in what has become  foreign territory: I am out of shape.

This became mightily clear today while I was riding a pony belonging to a friend. This little pony was feeling her oats and was taking a lot of riding. I found myself quite out of puff just to keep up with her. It was fun, but when I asked her to halt I knew I was out of breath.  I was suddenly seized by panic. My lungs wanted to explode. It was the same panic I got so good at weathering pre-transplant. All of a sudden I was ripping open my jacket and vest so I could try to take big deep breaths to catch my breath, which I did  shortly, though it felt like it took forever (we’re talking seconds).

Taming this frisky horse made me out of breath and it scared me. Not only did it throw my muscle memory back to a time when I was using oxygen, but my emotions got thrown back, and my mind went even crazier: and you know when you panic you feel even more breathless. I thought, “This feels awful. What if I were to reject? — I’d have to feel that way again, and maybe I wouldn’t qualify for a second lung transplant!” Yes, those were the frightening thoughts I was trying like mad to dampen while I sat catching my breath. Oh boy. I had this impulse to just roll up in a ball and give up: to stop riding the pony, to go back to the barn. But no, I’ll never get fit if I give up. So I told myself “you WILL catch your breath, relax”, gave myself a few good moments to chill out, reminded myself how soft I’m getting and got back to work.

In reflection, how on EARTH did I ever cope with that feeling all the time? How did I patiently resolve myself to it? I am so grateful a donor was found. Please folks, if you haven’t already, consider willing your organs on to someone for whom every breath is an effort. Take a deep breath, do some cardio, and carry on.